Today's poem is by Walter Bargen
Days Like This Are Necessary
Fifteen men, the beginning of a pirate's song,
and the dead man's chest, a premonition, a prophecy,
a treasure too dark to be opened alive.
Disregard that they are called soldiers
dressed in combat fatigues, crowded
into the body of a helicopter, their weapons
on safety a bad joke. They've been given leave,
are being ferried to an airport, away from
skirmishes, frontlines, that are every street,
alley, roof, door, window, and at that moment
when the whump, whump, whump of turning blades
is the air's homing heartbeat, a harvesting scythe,
the helicopter missiled, is a flaming meteor,
scattering fifteen men across a desert,
others mangled in ways we are never told
but know, as in the song fifteen men
on a dead man's chest and a bottle of rum.
An Asian ladybug whirs onto my shoulder.
I'm surprised to hear the dim dental drill
of its wings so late in the year, and how it clings
to my plaid shirt. I carefully remove it,
send it on its way, an infestation
I can't battle, can't win, and live with,
accepting, admiring their tenacity.
It's unseasonably warm, wind from the south.
The crows are mewing like cats. Jays crowd
a dead elm, shrieking in defiance.
Small birds twitter their way through
the underbrush finding what's overlooked.
Leaves are falling casualties.
Shards of sunlight mark their down turning.
Days like this are necessary.
Copyright © 2009 Walter Bargen All rights reserved
from Days Like This Are Necessary
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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